By Brendan Sobie in Singapore

Singapore Technologies Aerospace (ST Aero) has been appointed prime contractor for a revived project to upgrade the avionics on 10 Lockheed Martin C-130B/H Hercules transports for Singapore’s air force, according to industry sources. To be responsible for selecting equipment, subject to air force approval, and integrating the new suite, the company is now seeking bids from several vendors for equipment and integration-related services.

ST Aero declines to comment, but industry sources say several foreign companies received within the last few weeks requests for pricing on a specific list of equipment and services on a non-competitive basis. Several avionics manufacturers have been asked to bid on autopilots, displays, flight management systems, radars, radios and navigation equipment, while Lockheed has been requested to provide technical assistance and drawings. Additional companies that have experience with integrating new avionics suites on C-130s are also being asked to provide quotes.

Sources say ST Aero wanted companies to bid on similar packages in 2001 before Singapore put its planned C-130 avionics upgrade programme on hold due to budget constraints and changed priorities. Singapore has now set aside funds in its fiscal year 2006-7 budget to relaunch the programme. A contract should be in place by 31 March 2007. Work on the first aircraft should begin next year, with the project expected to take about four years to complete.

Singapore operates two C-130B and five C-130H transports and three KC-130B/H tankers, according to Flight’s MiliCAS database. The aircraft require new avionics to operate without restrictions in Europe and North America. ST Aero has long sought to enter the C-130 avionics upgrade market and is expected to pursue export sales once the new configuration has been defined.

Source: Flight International